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Did “Browns is the Browns” motivate Cleveland? “Probably a lot,” JuJu Smith-Schuster says

JuJu Smith-Schuster joins Mike Florio to shed light on how close he was to leaving Pittsburgh for Baltimore or Kansas City and why his free agency was 'more nerve-wracking' than his draft day.

In the days before a wild-card playoff game against Cleveland, Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was asked whether the 2020 Browns are a different team that what they’ve been in the past. Then came the unintended catch phrase.

The Browns is the Browns.”

In a recent appearance on PFT PM, Smith-Schuster was asked how much that comment motivated the opponent.

“Probably a lot, honestly,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’m not going to lie to you. It got to a point where the Cleveland Browns had a billboard up in Cleveland that said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ I think by me saying that, it says that a lot of people care about what I say. . . . At the end of the day, I said what I said. I don’t take anything back. They did come out there, they did whoop our ass. It is what it is. We lost that game. We lost early in that game in the first five, 10 minutes. We still fought. I’ll tell you one thing about our team, we still fought to the end. It wasn’t good enough. I just know the AFC North [is] just probably the hardest . . . division right now to win in. Guys like Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Ben. I think every team is getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Man, they’re really good.’ It is what it is.”

Kudos to Smith-Schuster for owning it, for not running from it. He said what he said, the game went how it went. No regrets, no apologies.

That said, “the Browns is the Browns” likely will linger, even if it means something far different than it did a year or two ago.